Rush Drummer Neil Peart: I Am Retiring From Music

"Like all athletes, there comes a time to take yourself out of the game."

Ultimate Guitar

After a series of reports on his physical issues, Rush drummer Neil Peart said that he is retiring from music.

The prog icons have recently wrapped up the R40 tour as their final major trek ever, with several sources citing Mr. Peart's health and his struggle with chronic tendonitis as the top factor behind the decision.

Neil tells Drumhead Magazine: "Lately Olivia [Louise, Neil's daughter] has been introducing me to new friends at school as 'My dad - he's a retired drummer.' True to say, funny to hear.

"And it does not pain me to realize that, like all athletes, there comes a time to... take yourself out of the game. I would rather set it aside then face the predicament described in our song 'Losing It' ['Sadder still to watch it die, than never to have known it']."

Bassist/vocalist Geddy Lee previously said about the possibility of Rush touring again: "It doesn't look good." Read about it here.

On their final run, the boys sounded stellar. Watch them in action here.

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UPDATE: Not exactly related to the Peart retirement story, but the band has just unveiled the official footage of "YYZ" from their "R40 Live" DVD. You can check it out below.

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UPDATE 2: Geddy Lee addressed Neil's retirement comments, saying he thinks that Peart's statement should be interpreted as a retirement from touring, not from Rush as a whole. Read about it here.

87 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I'm okay with it. I never got to see Rush live, but if any drummer, or band for that matter, deserves to retire, Neil is the one. Enjoy Neil. Just know that we'll continue to air drum Tom Sawyer for years to come.
    I could not agree more. Neil has given me 7 years of inspiration on drums and I could not thank him enough. It's tough for me to read this but he went out on top. Rush did it the right way and the should be rewarded with a long, fruitful retirement. Love ya, Neil. Even though we can't pretend a stranger is a long awaited friend.
    Now I realize how special it was to see him play on the r40 tour... one of the last concerts by one of the greatest drummers ever, a legend of rock, this is something i'll have to tell my kids some day... And its good to finally see him smile
    Top drummer of all time in my book
    When it comes to *Greatest* rock drummer of all time, only Bonham rivals him. Peart and Bonham are leagues away from the rest of the pack due to their creativity, influence, popularity, and skill. There are a million drummers with chops that could put either of them away but who gives a flying fuck? As a drummer, I certainly don't.
    Many musicians are influential/popular without being groundbreaking. The title of "greatest drummer" is so ambiguous. in terms of rock and metal, yeah you could call those two of the most influential drummers, but to call someone the greatest would also have to take into account technical ability, songwriting and general creativity which would bring many others up to the same level as bonham and peart. Bill bruford for example didn't have as much mainstream reach as peart or bonham but he's easily in the same league. He's more creative and more technical than both, which closes the gap that the other two have by appealing to bigger audiences/having a bigger influence. Not saying peart or bonham aren't creative or technical, but there's a lot of drummers that outdo them in both regards that could easily be called the greatest drummers
    Of course. Bill Bruford is there too. Outside of rock music Billy Cobham and Steve Gadd are front runners. And with jazz, you could throw a dart at a board and it would be fine. Rich, Krupa, Elvin, Tony Williams...
    And you're mentioning people who put Baker in their own league... you do know that, right? And people can downvote that, but the proof is in the documentary Beware Mr. Baker.
    Cobham and Gadd were interviewed for that doc? Tony Williams too?
    It's on Netflix... watch it... possibly on Youtube, but I never checked. I have just about every Zeppelin concert on DVD, and so maybe people can direct me to a performance that would wow me like some of Baker's stuff.
    Maybe I would like Ginger Baker more if he didn't talk so much horseshit about his dead peers.
    I appreciate his drumming while not caring what he says when not drumming. After all, we're talking about drumming ability and not what you think of a person's personality and opinions on subjects, right? Objectivity vs. subjectivity?
    Ginger Baker was a heck of a lot more accomplished at the drums than Bonham... Bonham's main claim to fame is being able to beat the shit out of the drums. And then you have modern drummers like Portnoy, etc., who could drum circles around Bonham. Keep in mind that I'm a Zeppelin fan, but let's look at reality here.
    I've always thought Ginger Baker was grossly overrated. By himself and others.
    Baker was a massive influence on Bonham,he was great in cream but blew his potential on drugs and not really having dynamic capabilities,what people like about Bonzo was that as good as he was and in 1970 there wasn't really many like him around but it really was his decision making that put him above most,the decision making the Baker couldn't reach.....hey lets just lay it down thick because that will sound cool on Levee breaks ect ,these kind of decisions also seemed hard for Moon to grasp,
    My point is, of course there are people that could and can outplay both Neil and Bonham, but that isn't the point. John Bonham influenced 2 or 3 generations of drummers and will continue to do so. Jazz drummers can study and appreciate his playing. Most non drummers associate Bonzo with beating his kit to death, but true listeners and musicians know it's more than that. He was a great drum writer with power yes, but so much grace and flair to accompany it. His drumming has appealed to me so much more than Ginger Baker's.
    Not making a stance on either side, just pointing out that Keith Moon needs to mentioned when having this conversation too. Man was a legend.
    It may have appealed to more typical people (who like Zeppelin), but not to drummers specifically. Anyone who is an accomplished drummer would put Baker (and others) ahead of Bonham. Now, if you think popularity is what makes a person 'the greatest,' then I'll give you that.
    "Anyone who is an accomplished drummer would put Baker (and others) ahead of Bonham." That's a pretty blanketed statement, but okay. And, if you go back and read my first comment in this thread, popularity is only a small factor in deciding the "greatest". Deciding the greatest of something is much easier than deciding who is the best purely based on skills. Name 5 drummers who are more influential on a wide scale than John Bonham. I can't.
    You did not state the most influential... only the greatest. I spoke on technicality, whereas you're talking about popularity. It's two different things. Sure, Bonham is more popular and may have influenced more people (not sure, but maybe), but he's not a BETTER drummer.
    Again, influence is a main criteria in deciding the greatest. If we are going by popularity (which what are we, 13?) then Travis fucking Barker is the greatest drummer of all time, Joey Jordison is runner up and Lars Ulrich is in a comfortable third place. The bottom line is I respect Ginger Baker as a drummer, he deserves his accolades, but I will never enjoy his drumming like I did and do Bonham's. And Zeppelin has always been a better band than Cream.
    Tbh Baker banged the drums as in "heavy rock banging" atleast 2-3 years before Bonzo. Listen to their early LIVE recordings, not the studio albums.
    the guy was a jazz drummer, however that didnt prevent him from inventing rock drumming. He hated both Jack and Eric for playing loud af which pushed him to hit harder Bonzo was great but he wasnt technically above the clouds. He was a great influence but its just ignorant to say he wasnt influenced by Baker.
    Are you that dense? Your first argument had nothing to do with INFLUENCE. You merely indicated the 'greatest.' I made it clear (even to a retarded goat) that what I meant by greatest was the person's ability and not popularity. And that if you meant 'greatest' by popularity or influence, then fine, I won't argue that. And then you go on about Zeppelin being better than Cream. Who gives a shit? What moronic arguments, which is why the world is in the state it is in... unable to use logical arguments in a discussion.
    Actually, the first argument said exactly that greatest is being defined as "their creativity, influence, popularity, and skill" for these purposes. Frankly, I'd say Bonham wins all of those. Ginger Baker always considered himself a jazzer and rock music beneath him, but in reality he's a pretty mediocre jazz drummer in terms of creativity and skill. Sure, a lot of people think of Bonham as just the guy who played hard and loud, but he was fantastically skilled. And absolutely Bonham has influenced more drummers than Ginger Baker. If you ask a rock drummer their biggest influences, you'll hear Peart, Starr, and Bonham constantly. I've only heard Baker named a few times.
    If he's mediocre in jazz, that still puts him ahead of most rock drummers... and his skill is still beyond that of Bonham, the latter of which definitely has his own style, but he never was known for his technicality, but his solidness and heaviness. And no one can suggest that Baker is less creative than Bonham... frig... has anyone listened to and watched either at their peak?
    What exactly do people mean by technicality? Bono did do some complicated stuff, nothing any other good drummer couldn't handle, but doesn't it take proper skill to play that fast and that loud? Lots of drummers can play 10 notes per second on a single bass pedal? But who can do it that heavy? I'm not that knowledgeable tbh so that's not a rhetorical question. Other than Buddy, who else can play like Bonzo? Greatness will always be subjective. Bonzos style is greater than Pearts. It should be needless to say that that's just my opinion
    What exactly is technicality? I'm not that knowledgeable? Yet, Bonzo has greater style than Peart. I guess you are knowledgeable, right?
    no, No, NO! you are not allowed to retire. as a fan i demand you entertain me until i say you can quit.
    Glad to see someone like him end on such a high note with their final tour. Much deserved success in a long career.
    Well everyone has to retire at some point. Neil Peart will go down in history for sure though.
    Meh the whole band should retire, they kicked ass from the very start, they left a huge mark in the history of Rock and music overall, they all deserve a good rest from the stresses of being on the road.
    Great musician and a great human being. Am I sad I never go t to see them live? Of course. But am I happy that he's finally going to get the rest he's wanted for so long? Of course.
    Great to see a legend hang up the drumsticks on his on terms. I hope to get around to reading his memoir sometime.
    Talk about a career. The band never broke up, still gets along well and no one died of drugs. A+
    Sad, because I never got to see them live and that was something on my bucket list, but I knew it was bound to happen at some point in my life. Maybe he'll impress us with some new focus like his writing or something like that.
    Seeing how much I love Rush, I'm glad they get the chance to go out on their own terms. They've made us fans happy for far more than they probably had to, now it's their time to enjoy. Rush lives on.
    Neil has been an inspiration on many levels; honing one's craft, following your own path, perseverance, integrity. It's sad to hear he's finally calling it a day, but he's certainly earned a relaxing retirement, and we've all been lucky to experience what he did with Geddy and Alex.
    I've seen Rush over 10 times and I completely understand why he's doing it but I can't help to be selfish and sad I'll never see them again in concert. They put on an amazing show. So does STP Who I've also seen a handful of times. 2 bands I'll never see again live happened within days of each other. Get to as many good shows as you can folks, all the good bands are going away. You never know which show will be their last.
    I think its the first time i've seen him smile.Enjoy your retirement Mr Peart you deserve it.What a legend.
    His lyrics and drumming are/were nothing less than genius. I've enjoyed every album. Thanks for the music Mr. Peart. Enjoy your well deserved retirement.
    This guy is a one of a kind legend, been in the business for over 40 years, influenced more musicians than anyone will ever know and still has the humblety to realize when its time to hang his drumsticks. Good on you, Mr. Peart, enjoy whatever comes next, you deserve it. This is the kind of icon musicians should aspire to be.
    I can say that I have had the privilege to see RUSH 4 times in my 22 years, and each and every one of them, Geddy, ALex, and Neil, is an inspiration, and deserve to go out on top! Enjoy retirement Mr. Peart, you are more than deserving of some much needed rest.
    Thanks Mr. Peart for sharing your talents with the world for so many decades. You are one of many "bests" in my book. To those bickering about who is "better" - there is no definitive answer to that. Once a drummer (or any musician for that matter) reaches a certain level, the point is moot. It then becomes a matter of one's personal preference. Each musician adds their own flavorings and inspirations to each composition. There is no "better" at these levels. It's all personal opinions at that point. Bonzo (in my opinion) had a foot like no other, but I can't say he's "better" than any other drummer because of that. All of the stated drummers have impeccable chops, and I appreciate each one as to how they flavor each composition. It's like food - just because you like fish better than steak, doesn't mean fish is better than steak. To you, yes - to others, maybe not. Appreciate the talents and styles of all of the greats - they've all attained levels that most musicians will never achieve. Peace out!
    I always hated Rush, very boring. But Neil was a great drummer, i have been forced to listen to Rush and always tried to block out the ugliest man in the world's voice and Rush's ridiculous lyrics and just listen to Neil. As for great rock & roll drummers, my fave is Keith Moon, and right now, right this instand Joe Russo is the best rock & roll drummer in the world.
    Neil I understand but keep in touch with your fans, We love you! This is a sad day.
    Retiring from music as a profession, or putting down the drums entirely? I don't think any musician completely walks away from music.
    Sorry to hear, but figured it had to come at some point. Leaves more time for motorcycling, though!
    Thank You Neil for so many decades of inspiring and awesome music. Greatful that I got to see you so many times, and in Vegas 2015.
    Suddenly you were gone from all the lives you left your mark up one. I followed the boys for over 35 years. Gone to at least 40 of the shows. Clockwork angels kicked some ass. Best of luck to Prat,Dirk and Lerxst.
    Its insane that he kept going this long, considering the conditioning ng required to drum for 2 hours a night, 4-5 days a week. How old is he, 65+?
    And to the guy grandstanding that Ginger Baker is "better than" John Bohnam....they could very well be polar opposites in style and approach. Stupid, illogical debate, imho. Bonzo is all about a heavy, funky groove w/ a kick drum feel that NO DRUMMER has ever matched. Baker was a swinger w/ the thudding double kick n cool cave-man tom fills, which sound cool btw. His best recording is on Deserted Cities of the Heart off Wheels of Fire - great odd time signatures n a driving beat with dynamics.
    Saddened to read this as I never got the chance to see them live. But they truly deserve a retirement. Thanks for all the decades of excelent music.
    Think the biggest regret about this is that the other two clearly wanted to carry on but we can't stop the ravages of time. Also think they could have continued to record and not tour which would still allow him time with his family but he's old school and professional pride would make him want to play new material live. Ah it's a really sad day. All the best to him in retirement. I'm sure he'll continue to write. Some consolation.
    Well good for him and them. They've done more than enough. And I think it's great to see that they're calling it a day rather respectably unlike so many other acts. Sad I didn't get to see them on their last trip through town. I'll just have to live with the memories of seeming them in 1993 with Primus as the opening act.
    You've touched not one but TWO generations of drummers. My son and myself included. He plays you better than me. God bless you Neil and enjoy some quiet time. You deserve it.
    so glad i saw them the last two tours then, i wouldn't have guessed it would be the last ones but i understand it.
    He said "consider me retired" back in 98.. They played their most complex material drum wise on the last tour so it's not like he simple CAN'T do it anymore. I give it a year before they announce Neil got tired of sitting around and already has the lyrics finished for the new album.
    Its well deserved. Now he can take it easy, and look back on a hell of a career.
    Grew up with Rush, as a Kid they where the best band in the world. As an adult Neil was the best drummer in the world (and also my business partners' neighbour. So sorry to hear, but hey I'm at an age where people start to degrade (so far lost great friends including Joe Strummer and Joe Bruce (Dad Jack Bruce from Cream) so guys, life is short! Make the most and don't whinge and complain for your own decisions.
    In honor of the great Neil Peart, Geddy Lee and Alex Liefson , seen you guys many times from the 2112 tour and I must admit you have always been my favorite. I introduced my son to you guys and he seen you live for the first time on the Snakes and Arrows tour which he loved so much he got tickets and took his girlfriend. RUSH FOREVER !!!!!
    Never got to see RUSH live, but I did go to a funeral wake he attended several years back. My friend introduced himself to him and Mr. Peart walked briskly past me as I was about to introduce myself. Thats as close as I got to anything RUSH related.
    Nice one Neil.....You can take me for a little while, you can take me you can make me the end! Been thirty years since I first heard 2112, I've got about another twenty in me (hopefully). Here's to the future! Mind howya go on that bike of yours.